What Sets Tori Apart From Tori Wannabes
An artist's greatness only very rarely appears before an artist has spent a great deal of time learning the work of previous greats. With such modern painters as Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, it is almost impossible to relate their early proficient works with the body of work for which they are most well-known. Only an art historian could attempt to compare these artists’ formative years of practice with the unmistakable and inimitable style they later cultivated and actualized on their canvases.
And so it is with Tori: her style cannot be mistaken, and her brilliance cannot be imitated, but this is not just the incidental result of her being blessed with an extraordinary natural gift for music. It is because she really, truly is classically trained, which does not merely mean that she has studied the classical composers, but that she has spent many, many years internalizing their compositions, and for many hours a day, every day. But she has made these points herself in various interviews, pieces of which are quoted here.
“I think I’m lucky to have skated through under the guise of pop musician. I’m really a classical musician.”
“Being trained the way I was trained, I don't think about it, it's just the way I hear things. Because Bartok [Béla Bartok, early 20th Century Hungarian composer] was such a hero of mine, I think differently. My chord vocabulary is different than a jazz player's. One isn't better than the other; they're just different, very different."
“ Hours a Day ”
On her acceptance to the Peabody Conservatory at the age of 11:
On her decision to do Y Kant Tori Read:
“I’ve been doing this for 27 years, 12 hours a day, and that hasn’t changed.”
Even on the road, Amos spends several hours a day at the piano, experimenting with new songs. “I'll work on bass patterns and then solo patterns and the I'll change them around because I hate half of them. It's just constantly discovering, when can I do with this chord, how many ways can I play it? Maybe I'll discover something in the first ten seconds and then nothing in the next two hours, and I really should have stopped after the first ten seconds and had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
“What’s spontaneity? There isn’t any spontaneity. I’m just speaking for me right now. On stage, when I play, that’s my moment of freedom, but 19 hours a day are packed with what’s got to happen to get to the next show.”
On her decision to leave the Conservatory:
As for those who attempt to copy her style or sound, their best efforts all still lack Tori’s natural musical ability, yes, but they also lack the astonishing technical prowess that comes only from years of passionate study and learning. The incredible force that is a unique vision supported by consummate skill is something for which there are no tricks, no shortcuts, and no substitutes.
“…musicians have a different skill, if they choose to develop it, and some of them don’t. They think that if they play a few chords, they’re musicians. That doesn’t honor the music, that doesn’t honor the muse. It’s something that I really had to get clear in my head, because I don’t think that’s an understanding that musicians have and I see a lot of them in pain, and I’ve been in pain. It’s not like two hours a day are set aside on every radio station for the encouragement of pioneering music. I think a lot of musicians are very frustrated because they may have this wonderful ability, but to merge that with the pop world, it can be very frustrating. It’s one thing that I have to work through all the time; I really have to not become a number on a pop chart. It’s like your worth, if they say you’re only number 68.”
“In the music press,” she says, winding up for the pitch, “people rarely talk about the actual music, because most journalists don’t know anything about it, and that’s just a fact.”
Question (once again): How do you stay in shape?
“Bring me sugar…” In what form, though? The answer can be found here:
"Bjork makes me think I can jump off rooftops, and Polly makes me want to eat mangoes so I don’t stay dry 24 hours a day. "